January 29, 2008

Weekend project: Gigantic Bookshelf

This weekend Nanc and I realized a dream that was years in the making: one bookshelf to rule them all. A bookshelf big enough to contain our books.

Come inside for a photo of the mammoth and some ridiculous statistics.

This bookcase contains over 575 linear feet of book shelf. On Friday, we purchased all the componenents at IKEA, and got all the requisite bits and bobs home via FWAT (Friend with a truck. Thanks, Dave!).

Saturday was spent constructing the titanic beastie. It is almost eight feet tall and is over six feet wide. We also put in little accent-y lights (hooked into the home automation, of course). The glass doors will hopefully make dusting a easier.

On Sunday, we categorized and shelved books. Then later, we categorized and shelved more books. Even later still, well... you get the idea.

I know that it's sort of lame to be excited by a bookcase. (Who reads books anymore? That's so 1987.) I'm just happy not to have books double and triple stacked. And having them all organized is frosting on the cake.

In the small print, I should probably note that we do still have a separate shelf just for Nanc's knitting books, and another for my computer books. Those books are handier in their hobby-adjacent locations.

Posted by Matty at 03:34 PM | Comments (11)

January 23, 2008

O Canada Socks

There may be a plethora of lyric versions for this anthem of the great white north, but I have just two socks named for it. (Although each is a bit different by accident.)

I finished my first pair of socks for the year! Never mind that I made the first sock back in June.

These are my O Canada socks, named because the yarn is one of the Regia Canadian colors. (Who doesn't love Regia's color fun?)

As I stated, I started the first sock in June 2007, while at the lake. However, I didn't start the second sock until early January and finished it this past Saturday.

That huge gaping hole in time? Yeah, that we me not knitting on this sock. I knit other things, just not this sock.

But now it is done; no hard feelings.

Details:
Yarn: Regia Canadian Color in Vancouver (4727) gifted to me from the Purse-Ho
Needles: Addi Turbos 2.5mm
Pattern: Madder Rib pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks
Notes: I knit these with a different heel that I don't quite care for. It's a modified heel flap, but it comes out very square. Also, the rib pattern continues all the way to the tips of the toes... this does not thrill me. (The idea of it does, but not the execution.)
I knit the legs kind of short (how I like 'em) and have plenty of this yarn left over (to contribute to crazy socks or to knit other things, I don't know yet).

Posted by Nanc at 03:57 PM | Comments (6)

January 18, 2008

Week in bento

Per a personal request and to post something to the blog, I give you this past week in bentos.

Monday
I did enjoy a bento, only I didn't take a picture of it.

  • leftover salmon on a bed of raw spinach, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and blanched green beans with a side of herb feta (I picked up some raspberry vinaigrette at my cafeteria salad bar)
  • half a pear
  • 2 clementines

Tuesday

  • chicken sandwich (garlic bread, alloutette spread, left-over rotisserie chicken, and spinach)
  • quickie pasta salad (left-over bowtie pasta, left-over corn, cherry tomatoes, frozen edamame, feta, and balsamic dressing)
  • pineapple and pomegranate
  • carrots, jicama, and radishes
  • 1/2 pear diced
  • a bear-shaped egg with no ears! (too small eggs)
  • tangelo

Wednesday

  • salad is... spinach, corn, mushrooms, radishes, tomatoes, blanched green beans, pomegranate, and chicken
  • carrots and jicama sticks
  • heart-shaped egg
  • mini cheese
  • blueberries
  • a pear and a tangelo
  • Tomato Pretz and Matcha Pocky

Thursday

  • penguin, tulip, and an octo hotdog
  • rice with furikake sprinkled on top
  • spinach, corn, radish, mushroom, tomato, avocado, and feta salad
  • fruit salad (pineapple, pomegranate, and blueberries)
  • mini cheese
  • seaweed salad
  • tangelo

Friday

  • leftover steak, sliced thin
  • spinach, corn, avocado, and tomato salad
  • onigiri
  • fish-shaped egg
  • blueberries and pomegranate
  • carrot stars, jicima, and radish
  • seaweed salad (with a radish star)
  • last of the fresh pineapple
  • tangelo
  • mini cheese

Posted by Nanc at 05:26 PM | Comments (7)

January 17, 2008

2007 PEZ wrapup

It's been a while since my last PEZ update, and you might curious to find out what PEZ hath wrought in the past few months. Look inside for more.

Please note: There is a new dispenser that has forced me to swear in this post. If you are offended by salty language, or are too young to know what salty language is, go watch something on youtube instead.

Right off the bat, I want to discuss Mozart. Yes, Mozart. There is a fucking Mozart PEZ. And it's fucking fantastic. I think that I may be done collecting. How could the folks at PEZco ever top this? Mozart was created for the 2007 Vienna Exposition, and was smuggled into this country inside of Vienna sausages. Hey, it coulda happened.

Along with fucking Mozart, PEZ also created a dispenser of Princess Sissi, who was the Empress consort of Austria. I don't know what an "empress consort" is, but I have a couple of guesses. These two dispensers are just loverly. Fantastic work, PEZ!

Next up, are a couple of Christmas dispensers. These are the usual molds, but instead of using colored plastic, they are made from transparent plastic. Yeah, it's the invisible Santa, Elf, and Reindeer. A limited number of these were mixed in with normal holiday PEZ at some Target stores. There are a couple more to this set that I wasn't able to find. sigh... maybe next year.

PEZ for dogs was a bit of a surprise. I found this dispenser my friendly neighborhood drugstore, and it comes complete with dog bones to dispense your favorite puppy. There are two different styles of dispensers and they each retail for about $10.

Always on the lookout for a deal, I found a couple more of the Nascar pull toy PEZ dispensers at Big Lots for three bones each. Not a bad deal. Now I can play Nascar in the comfort of my living room. Vroom!

The Bee Movie. Alas, I will probably never see you, but your dispensers are pretty cool. At the time that I took the picture, I only had three of the four. I have since found the fourth. From left to right, they are: Barry Bee Benson, Pollen Jack Buzz, and Vanessa Blume (the human).

I found the Golden Compass dispensers while doing some Christmas shopping at World Market. I do hope to see this movie soon. These dispensers are Iorek Byrnison (Armored Bear), Golden Monkey, Ragar Sturlusson (Ice Bear) , Pantalaimon (Daemon Ferret). Golden Compass, you had me at daemon ferret.

The Hello Kitty set is finally complete for me, with the release of Chococat. True, Chococat looks a little dazed and confused, but still very cute.

Next up, some more of the Japanese mini dispensers. These are sold in vending machine in Japan and each is a fully functioning PEZ dispenser that holds 4-5 candies. This is a series from a TV show called Masked Rider, and I picked them up from SJGlew for a song.

I also received a special dispenser made for "Pezheads: the Movie". A filmmaker in Wisconsin put together a documentary about people that collect PEZ dispensers. Cleverly, he comissioned PEZ to create a dispenser that he included with the movie. The dispenser uses the hockey puck mold, but is decorated to look like a film cannister. From this documentary, I learn that some semi-famous PEZ collectors include Wendy the Snapple Lady, and someone or other from the Goo Goo Dolls. Overall, I like the dispenser. Good use of an existing mold.

For the past few years, PEZ has been releasing Disney Princesses. The set is finally complete. The last three released are Mulan, Snow White, and Pocahontas. Right now, Mulan and Pocahontas are only available as part of a box set that contains all of the other princesses, but I'm certain they will be available individually soon. I like Mulan and Pocahontas, but something seems wrong with Snow White. Does s/he look like a transvestite to you?

Finally, if I had actually finished this article before 2008 like I had hoped, it would have been perfectly fine to include pictures of our christmas lights. Doing it now feels a little weird. I assure you that the lights have been taken down for the season. And the final snap is a sunset that happened while I was taking the pictures of the Christmas lights. I set the white balance on the camera to tungsten for the lights, so the sky is a very vivid blue. Sometimes mistakes turn out well.

Posted by Matty at 12:03 PM | Comments (5)

January 07, 2008

Chickpea Curry

Both Matt and I have this delicious and easy curry leftover as lunches today. This doesn't make for pretty bentos (thermoses just aren't that attractive), but it does make for a tasty lunch.

This recipe makes 4 large or 6 regular servings. I usually serve it with basmati rice, raita (yogurt, cucumbers, and spices), and a dollup of mango chutney. Perhaps one day I'll try making naan.

Chickpea Curry

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbl. oil (your preference)
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (less or more to heat preference)
  • salt (couple shakes)
  • 2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1 15-oz can tomatoes (drained) or two fresh roma tomatoes, chopped (optional)

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onions, and cook until tender.
  2. Stir in garlic, ginger, and spices (cloves salt), and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. (I place the whole cloves and cinnamon sticks in a loose tea bag so that they can be retrieved without anyone accidentally eating them.)
  3. Add garbanzo beans and their liquid. If using canned tomatoes, add now. Continue to cook and stir until all ingredients are well blended, approx 20 minutes. With a potato masher, mash up about 1/3 of the beans. This step is not necessary, but makes for a thicker sauce.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro (and tomatoes, if using fresh) just before serving.

Enjoy!

Posted by Nanc at 11:17 AM | Comments (2)

January 06, 2008

It's washing day

Okay, so the title doesn't invoke excitement or make one want to read this post, but I promise that the pictures are worth it (for knitters, at least). Come see what my washing entails.

Isn't that a loverly sight? [over there ---> on the right side of the screen; those pictures] All those yummy knits washed up and drying.

Hats and socks and fingerless gloves, oh my! (The sweater is drying in another, larger room.) And there's some new items mixed in there, too. How exciting!

See all those socks in a bunch there? Hanging from some clip-doodle I picked up from the Container Store. Well, I used to be one of those wash-'em-in-cold-water-mixed-in-the-regular-laundry kind of gals. [gasp!] (Of course, I always line/lay dry. Don't be daft.)

I still don't think that there's anything wrong with that method, but... I've recently realized that I don't have too many hand knit socks and that if I want them to last, which I do, I might do better to give 'em a more gentle washing.

That, and I need to knit me some more!

To the far left, a bit under the socks, there are two hats that I made last winter (Jan or Feb maybe) and never took pictures of. They're kind of matchy-matchy for Matt and me. They're made from Mission Falls 1824 Wool, which is yummy and squooshy. (I believe that I took the yarn off miss Lilyan's hands in trade.)

All the new knits are on the right: a pair of wee mittens, a Panta headband/warmer (or DROPS 86-10, which lacks inspiration), two Gnomey hats, and a Jayne Cobb "cunning" hat from Firefly.

The cunning hat is for Matt and was finished just in time for Christmas (minus the washing and blocking). In fact, that is what we call a Xmas-Eve pompom, if ya' know what I mean. The other knits are gifts for nephews and SIL, but I've still got some knitting to do to complete the family gifts.

In other news, I am declaring this year to be the Year In Stitches! (Which I will explain in a post to follow.)

Merry belated holidays of all sorts and Happy New Year!

Posted by Nanc at 10:15 AM | Comments (7)